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Sh. Haitham: My first response to the Paris incident

Shaikh Haitham al-Haddad: “My initial response to the #CharlieHebdo matter”

“Allāh and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.”[1]

Alḥāmdulillāh, today is the auspicious day of Jumuʿah (Friday), a day for which we know as reported by Aus b. Aus (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Among the best of your days is Friday; so supplicate Allāh more often for me in it, for your supplications will be displayed to me.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allāh! How will our blessings be displayed to you when your decayed body will have mixed with the earth?” He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) replied, “Allāh has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.”[2]

At a time where justice is denied, where ignorance prevails, where one group of people are made to feel that there is an organised effort to oppress, rob and degrade them, where neither they nor their property will be safe and neither their lofty, envied values nor those whom they revere in high esteem will be safe from ridicule, let us remember him and send salutations upon him. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is the undisputed best of all human beings, and most successful even from a secular, material perspective. Those whose exhausted attempts at rational, intellectual critique who are forced to gratuitous insult and wanton mockery will never take away anything from the greatness of the one whose mention Allāh Himself has raised:

Did We not expand for you, [O Muḥammad], your breast?

And We removed from you your burden;

Which had weighed upon your back?

And raised high for you your repute?

For indeed, with hardship [there is] ease.

Indeed, with hardship [there is] ease.

So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].

And to your Lord direct [your] longing.[3]

This is a man (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) who is being praised constantly throughout the globe. There is no minute in the day where there is not someone, somewhere, calling the Adhān, the Iqāma, or engaged in prayer, whilst declaring that “I bear witness that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh!” No moment passes except someone, somewhere, is sending ṣalawāt upon him, or delivering a lesson about his life, or narrating one of his noble statements, or making duʿā’ to Allāh and sealing it with the ṣalāh upon His beloved Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). All prophets including Mūsā and Īsā (ʿalayhima al-Salām) acknowledged his status and prayed behind him, and Allāh has made it such that there is no one who knows about him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and yet does not believe in him except he will be deprived from entering Jannah.

No amount of abuse, insult and mockery from the ignorant can come even close in comparison to this man’s lofty status and praise, for he has been named Ahmad (the one given and giving the highest quality of praise capable for a human) and Muḥammad (the one given the highest quantity of praise capable for a human) (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). Let us therefore not become too distracted from the real purpose of this life, longing for Allāh and glorifying Him and that which He loves, especially on the day of Jumuʿah.

ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀs (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) used to say:

“I could not look him in the eye because of awe. If I were to be asked to describe him I would not be able to, because I could not look him in the eye.”[4]

“And verily, you [O Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)] are on an exalted standard of character.”[5]

Many may expect us to rush to respond to the unfortunate shooting at the French magazine headquarters recently. Although we will soon respond if Allāh permits us, we wish to do so with some reasoned analysis once the dust has settled and facts have become clear, and not waste our time with speculation, allowing the agenda to be dictated for us.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”[6]

I therefore trust and pray my dear brothers and sisters that you will do as I do and not let the actions of the wicked distract you from making the most of this day of Jumuʿah. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever sends ṣalāh upon me once, Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) will send ṣalāh upon him tenfold.”[7]

Ubay b. Kaʿb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrated:

I said: “O Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), I frequently invoke Allāh to elevate your rank. How much of my supplications should I devote to you?” He said, “You may devote as much as you wish.” When I suggested a quarter, he said, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I suggested half, and he said, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase.” I suggested two- thirds, and he said, “Do whatever you wish but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I said, “Shall I devote all my supplications invoking Allāh to elevate your rank?” He said, “Then you will be freed from your worries and your sins will be forgiven.” [8]

Let us earn the pleasure of Allāh jalla waʿāla in saying the following as many times today as we can:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

“O Allāh, let Your Blessings come upon Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad, as you have blessed Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O Allāh, bless Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad, as you have blessed Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious”.

Reactions to Charlie Hebdo

The Charlie Hebdo shootings have provoked a storm of sensationalist reactions from opportunists across the spectrum. At Islam21c we have been working hard to sift through the rhetoric and find reasoned analysis from all quarters – links are available below to read. Don’t forget to like, comment and share! To keep up with the latest articles on Islam21c.com subscribe to our mailing list here

We also direct your attention to the seminal report written by Prof. Arun Kundnani since empirically-refuted connections are being made left, right and centre, between these shootings and the shooters’ incidental ideology – read the ground-breaking report that shows that Extremism does NOT cause terrorismA Decade Lost; Rethinking Radicalisation and Extremism

a decade lost

Also read:

charlie hebdo banner

Visit our dedicated page to #CharlieHebdo with all our hand-picked content here

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān, 33:56

[2] Abū Dawūd

[3] Al-Qur’ān, 94

[4] Muslim (121)

[5] Al-Qur’ān, 68:4

[6] Gandhi

[7] Al-Nasāʿī

[8] Al-Tirmidhi

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

53 comments

  1. My analysis of what is going on in the West nowadays (Nip it in the bud !)

    I feel that the Elite, through the many media outlets which they control (fox news, bbc etc), are definitely pushing an agenda. At the moment I think they are using islam so as to convert the Western counties into police states. Taking away freedoms by using the threat of Terrorism ( the T word). Maybe to avoid an impending revolution by the Western masses that the elite foresee. Nipping it in the bud so to speak. This is my analysis so far.

    This video by Russell Brand clearly shows how they are pushing an agenda and very vehemently.

    Brilliant response by Russell Brand about Paris issue. :
    http://youtu.be/RPK7t5B2UN4

    Article link here:
    http://alitwaij-eng-s.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-analysis-of-what-is-going-on-in-west.html

  2. How can muslims talk about disrespect of their prophet, when millions of muslims have “muhammed” as their first or last name? how can you call yourself “muhammed”and disrespect your prophet. if portraying, depicting and claiming to be “muhammed” is so sensitive and punishable by law in most muslim majority state, then why is it blatantly violated by millions of muslims with their own name?…..so if i draw a photo of my neighbor who is called muhammed, is it disrespecting muslims or islam?

  3. Abullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “We are now in this day. Blessed are the strangers.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, who are the strangers?” The Prophet said, “Righteous people among many evil people who disobey the righteous more often than they obey them.”

    Source: Musnad Ahmad 6612

    This is a hadith to those who understand And May Allah swt gives us Understanding

  4. SubhanAllah! brilliant advice from shiekh and fantastic article by Arfana. May I suggest to the editor of Islam21.com to please include this comment of Arfana as a main article on Islam21.

    Jazak Allahu Khairan

  5. The greatest person ever is the beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

    Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has the best teachings and has reformed many people’s understanding of spirituality, morality and theology.

    It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error. [Quran 62:2]

    Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a kind, tolerant and caring leader; (Quran 3:159; 6:54; 21:107; 68:4).

    Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) successfully reformed the social practises, economic guidelines, judicial system, welfare, political, legal laws and education of his people.

  6. why should we condemn ?

    When West does not have fewest respect for our most beloved Person (PBUH), nor thy condemn the cartoon, thn why should we ?????

    • I’ve been thinking the same..

      • I have also been thinking “Why are we looking to the West for examples on how to react?”

        If the action is wrong, then its wrong whether the other party does the right thing or not, to simply play the game of “tit-for-tat” is really pathetic – they have not condemned by then again, we do not take our religion from France, we take it from Allah and His Messenger.

        Stop comparing yourself to the worse of the worse and start looking at what the QURAN tells you to do instead of always looking elsewhere.

  7. Islam is the only religion, which dose not make any mockery of other religions.But some religions specially attacks on Islam and make propaganda against Islam. this is not freedom of speech its just targeting. Liberation should be in control to protect the rights of other. why France has banned the scarf, this is not against the freedom of living.

  8. Haneef Ibn Ahmad

    Subhan Allah, a response based on knowledge, must read! As the famous saying goes “Actions not based on knowledge is bound to cause more harm than good!”

    Regret reading this a little later than when it was posted!

    May Allah raise the ranks of Shaykh in this world & the hearafter!

  9. The Government of America and Europe
    Why do you like to kill people?
    Why do you like to make war?
    Why do you like to plunder?
    Why do you like to torture?
    Why do you like to press people?
    Why do you like to colonize countries?
    Why do you like to steal assets from other countries?
    Why do you like to hurt people?

    You have killed the Indians!
    You have killed the Indonesians!
    You have killed the Chinese!
    You have killed the Japanese!
    You have killed the Negro’s!
    You have killed the Koreans!
    You have killed the Vietnamese!
    You have killed the Afghans!
    You have killed the Arabs!

    Why you are hypocrites?
    Whom will you kill more?

    Do you not have hearts?
    Do you not have any feelings?
    Do you not have love?

    500 years you dominate the world with terror, is that not enough?

    • You are happy to take Western money though arent you??.

      Typical ignorant muslim attitude.If you dont like the west bugger off to live in Muslim lands

  10. Beyond the [*sensored*] here only idiot would think this was a good response. To say I’m not going to respond is not a response, it’s a cop out. To foolish comment and say there’s been no trial as if people have randomly assumed they were muslim is idiotic, they were shouting allahu Akbar and that they avenged the prophet. Maybe you all have nothing to say because you agree with them but unlike the gunmen, you’re cowards who hide behind non-responses. As usual you will comment after a month and blame the world and its mother, I’m sorry foreign policy can’t be blamed in this instance. Either you think what they did was acceptable in the shariat or not. Stop blaming the west, and even though it might be messed up it still is far better than ANYTHING you salafis could produce. If not then why don’t you go elsewhere? Did Allah not make the earth vast enough for you?!

    • Calm down bro

      “Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith – all in Hell”:-surah nisa 140

      “For he who hateth thee,(Muhammad SAW), he will be cut off (from Future Hope).” Surah kauthar verse 3

      “Lo! they plot a plot (against thee, O Muhammad), And I plot a plot (against them), So give a respite to the disbelievers. Deal thou gently with them for a while.” surah tariq15-17

      Sometimes you don’t need to comment,

      Sometimes no comment is being sensible and adhering to the Quran and trusting Allah.

    • MonkeyPu – please remove the froth away from your mouth and try again.

    • You really are a monkey

      • “Are you really a monkey” Nah this Samy Merchant using one of his many persona’s. You can always tell him by his anti salafi rants. He is a pathetic individual. Yawn and move on!!

    • Islam21c and its readership won’t change their attitude. I’ve tried many times with them, but they’ve only censored some of my posts, calling them “libel and slander!”

      Islam21c refrains from commenting because the Paris attackers were most likely Salafi Muslims. And this is the chilling thing; Every terrorist has been a Salafi Muslim: Osama bin Laden, Anwar Awlaki, Zahawari, the 9/11 bombers, the London Subway bombers, the Boston marathon bombers, the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, the arm-pit bomber…you name it. ALL OF THEM. Not a SINGLE one of them was an orthodox (non-Salafi) Muslim.

      You see, the writers and readership of islam21c are Salafis. My shaikh, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, has said that Salafis come in many shades; you have the non-violent ones (like Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad) to the violent ones (“the dogs of the hell-fire”), like the leaders of the terrorist groups, ISIS and Al-Qaida. Regardless, their core ideology is non-integration and antagonism to the West. This is what is scary. The non-violent ones can become violent!

      But we must keep trying. Salafis can change. Dr. Yasir Qadhi was once a Salafi Muslim. Now, he is no longer a Salafi. He has become a moderate, orthodox, reform Muslim. Let’s be positive and hope that our brothers and sisters at islam21c will leave Salafi Islam and join the moderate Muslim community. In my humble opinion, without Salafi Muslims there will be no more Muslim terrorism.

      • twas only a matter of time until the junior monkey came back swinging (get it?), his posts magically appearing despite the EVIL SALAFI CENSORSHIP BOOHOO.

        I can’t blame you I was also once a 16 year old hot head with a keyboard 20 years go. I feel bad that kids are recycling the same old rhetoric and haven’t learned anything from our mistakes…probably our fault. But anyway, Samy, read Dr Arun Kundani’s report for a start – you are perpetuating the myth used by securocrats and neocons that violence is correlated with the individual’s ideology – however “extreme” it may be. This has been comprehensively refuted on an empirical basis. (the report is in the article on the top right – “extremism does NOT cause violence”.) Once you stop adding fuel to the fire then perhaps we can work on your other issues, but you have your whole life ahead of you fella.

        • Rich, you have said much but addedd very little to the discussion, try using simple English instead of speaking above your level.

      • terrorism has nothing to do with the salafi Muslims.

        lexically; Salaf means predecessors.

        The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salaam) said to Faatimah; “I am the best Salaf for you” (Sahih Muslim and Bukhari).

        In jurisprudence, Salaf refers to the first three generations.

        The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best people are those of my generation, then those who will come after them (the next generation) and then those who will come after them.” [Sahih Bukhari – Book on traditions to make the heart tender and At-Tirmidhi – book on virtues]

        Al-imam al-Awza`i (d. 157 H.) said, “Patiently restrict yourself upon the Sunnah, stop where the people (i.e. the companions) stopped, say what they say and refrain from that which they refrained. Traverse upon the path of your Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors), for indeed what was sufficient for them is sufficient for you.” [Sharh Usool I`tiqad Ahl-Assunnah wal-Jama’ah by AL-Lalaka’I]

        • Again, get your head out of the books and look around you. I’ts too obvious.

          • its the same arguments the kuffars use against the Muslims.

            even though many terrorists are kuffars.

            the zionists, cia, american blackwater, russian seperatists in ukrain, those involved in drone strikes and other radical fanatics.

      • samy seems to be ignorant of what salaf means and who are the salafis.

        there are terrorist groups from the kuffar and the heretic groups. the blackwater is an american terrorist group that murdered innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        There were russian terrorists during the cold war that were causing bloodshed in Afghanistan.

        the zionist terrorists have been murdering innocent people in Palestine for decades.

        there are fanatics from deviant groups such as the rafida and the khawarij.

        the hizba shia of lebanon, houthi rebels in Yemen, the alawiya militia of Syria and the variuos TT of Pakistan are heretic violent groups.

        regarding salafi;

        salaf means predecessor.

        The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salaam) said to Fatimah; “I am the best Salaf for you” (Sahih Muslim and Bukhari).

        Abu Ja’far at-Tahawi (d. 321 AH)
        “And the early scholars from the Salaf (the early predecessors), and the Taabi’een (successors) who came after them: the people upon good and the narrations, and the people of Fiqh and discernment; are not to be mentioned except with fine words; and whoever speaks ill of them then he is not upon the correct path.” [Aqeedah Tahawiyyah, point 203]

        • Samy Merchant

          Thanks for pointing out, bro.

        • Akhi – you are only obsessed with defending the flag of Salafiyya, ALL of your examples are about what THEY (Kuffar and Deviants) are doing, are they your examples?

          Why dont you cite examples from the actual SALAF as to how to deal with these situations according to Kitab wa Sunnah?

          When the Jew insulted RasululAhi in Madina, our Mother Aisha insulted him back and when the Prophet (SAW) objected she said “did you hear what he said to you?” and the Prophet taught her that her example was in him and not in the enemy

          I advise you to stop looking at OTHERS and start looking at the Prophet (SAW) instead, you are only concerned about your hizb, so long as you can quote the same old hadith about the word “salaf” used on one occasion – then its as if nothing else matters, the ISIS are also SALAFI, Qaeda is also SALAFI, in fact they may even claim that you are not SALAFI enough – its not the point, the point is there is a dangerous problem out there and we will not fix it by talking about titles and tags

          by the way, the Quran uses the word “Salaf” of “Aslaftum” in many places to describe good and BAD people, Fir’awn is described as a SALAF for the wicked and evil who came after him

          Leave the semantics alone and deal with the real discussion.

          • Its about defending and following the correct methodology of Islam.

            the “monkeyypu guy” claimed that all terrorists are salafi Muslims!

            what a clear lie and it shows the ignorance of such individuals.

            the medeival scholars used the term salaf as salih as reference to the best three generations of Muslims.

            Thus the correct methodology on how to interpret the Quran and Sunnah is to follow how the sahaba and the tabiun implemented the Quran and Sunnah.

            Allah described the Muslims;

            “And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds.” [Quran 28:55]

            Abu Al-Qasim Al-Lalaka’i (d. 418 H.) said in the introduction of his book Sharh Usool I`tiqad Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah, when speaking about understanding of Tawheed and Allah’s Attributes, “From the greatest of statements and the clearest of proofs and reasoning are Allah’s Book, the Clear Truth, then the sayings of the Messenger of Allah and his pious companions, then what was agreed upon by the Righteous Salaf, then holding on to it until the Day of Judgment, and avoiding innovations and listening to what was innovated by the misguided.” [Sharh Usool I`tiqad Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah by Lalikai 1/154]

    • Why should he respond in the first place? Lions do not concern themselves with the barking of dogs.

      • Thats a poor observation, but in case you are too busy to notice;

        The Lion is toothless and is currently living in the dog’s house, so a response would be a very good idea.

    • Agreed, it falls short of a response really.

    • monkeypy

      you sound like those deviant qadianis who cannot show any right response but are just cowards and blaimg the Muslims.

  11. Abu AbdulRahmaan

    Sunhan-Allah!
    Just as I finished reading the main article by Shaikh Haitham and the wonderful comments on the subject from Arfana, the call for Isha is made here in Kuwait. And I cannot describe to you how it resonated so powerfully within my soul, at the mention of the Prophet Muhammad (S) during the call – Ashadu Anna Muhmmad Al-Rasool Allah!

    May the blessings of Allah continue to be on him, his family, and all of those who hold on to what Allah has revealed to him, until the day of Judgement – Allahumma Ameen!

  12. Thanks a lot for your article. Great comment Arfan

  13. Thoughts on the Paris shooting…
    “I get a sense of deja vu when these incidents occur. The immediate rush to judgement on the Muslims by politicians and media, followed by the inevitable knee jerk condemnation and outrage expressed by the Muslims and the incessant apologies.
    I frankly grow tired of this. I am not responsible for the actions of a few and see no reason why I even need to apologise. No other community is required to do this so why are the Muslims expected to do so?
    Because it puts the Muslims on the defensive and hides the real ideological points that go unchallenged by the Muslims. We are so busy apologising and being collectively castigated that we don’t see the real argument. And that argument is that Islam is a medieval, backward way of life that has no place in modernity. That liberal secularism is the best way of life. That freedom of speech is the height of civilisation and that freedom gives the right to insult others including religion. And if you want to be modern and be considered civilised then you should accept that your God and your prophet should be ridiculed. You may not like it but you need to accept it.
    I’m not going to talk about the fiqh of whether this action committed yesterday is halal or haram (I really don’t care for these extremist or terrorist labels) rather I want to talk about freedom of speech.
    The problem with free speech is that it is based on the premise that it is a universal value that everyone accepts. It isn’t. Rather free speech is a liberal position. Liberalism doesn’t represent the default position. Billions of people around the world are not liberals. The 1.5 billion Muslims across the world don’t accept that you are free to insult Muhammad (saws) in the name of free speech. Practising Christians across the world from deepest Africa to the US Bible belt don’t accept that Jesus be insulted. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists all over the world do not accept that their religious symbols be insulted. So let’s drop the pretence and have an honest discussion. It is of the most basic human civility to respect others. That is a real universal value. That is the starting point – not free speech. To insult others is to treat them with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. So the onus is upon those who want to allow such behaviour to prove why this depravity should be permitted.
    The idea of free speech is flawed in theory and politicised in practice. It is an idea impossible to implement, and has never been implemented anywhere historically – not even today, in liberal societies.
    Free speech does not exist in absolute form. There is no absolute freedom to insult. Across the liberal West, we find defamation laws, sedition laws, professional standards and journalistic standards of reporting about politicians and celebrities. In Germany, denial of the Holocaust is prohibited by law. In the United Kingdom, the Public Order Act makes “threatening, abusive or insulting words” a criminal offence. In Australia, Commonwealth Criminal Code makes it an offence for a person to use a postal or similar service “in a way … that reasonable persons would regard as being … offensive.”
    As for in practice, we find numerous examples of people being convicted for mere speech. In the United Kingdom, Azhar Ahmad was convicted in 2012 for “grossly offensive communications” because of a comment he made on Facebook about British soldiers killed in Afghanistan, which read, “all soldiers should die and go to hell.” District Judge Jane Goodwin, in arriving at the conviction, noted that the test was whether what was written was “beyond the pale of what’s tolerable in our society.” Even Charlie Hebdo, the magazine printing the offensive cartoons while claiming to be a bastion of free speech – previously lambasted their own cartoonist Maurice Sinet for writing a biting article about Nicholas Sarkozy’s son which appeared to denigrate him for marrying a Jewish heiress for money. Sinet was subsequently sacked by his employers for refusing to apologise.
    So in reality the principle of free speech is used selectively as a political tool. When Muslim sanctities are denigrated, we’re lectured about free speech and how it can’t be qualified. Yet when Muslims and others insult, they are met with the force of law. Who decides about when and how to qualify free speech? The real question, then, is not about freedom. It is about how far power can go. It’s about power using the notion of freedom to extend and enforce its reach.
    Ultra-liberals may say here that they disagree with all these laws and cases and maintain absolute free speech for all – unqualified, carte blanche. But is such a position conducive to society? Would we accept white people using the “n word” against blacks? Or a person shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre? Or a student insulting his teacher, or a child her parent? Everyone teaches their children to respect others, not to insult. Why? Because insults beget insults, hate and rancour. Is that the type of society we want for ourselves and for our children?
    Some forget, perhaps, that even in the western tradition, free speech was upheld as a most basic value for specific ends: to allow the profession of ideas, inquiry into truths and the ability to hold government to account. Do any of these noble ends (all of which are upheld in Islam) require the freedom to insult? Or does insult, in fact, defeat the very purpose of these ends? Insulting another person’s beliefs does not encourage them to think. Instead, it makes them more entrenched, defensive and prepared to retaliate – that’s human nature.
    Indeed the only reason why we even discuss freedom of speech is because secular liberalism has dominated both East and West, not by the strength of its values, but by the strength of its militaries. The Muslim world resisted and continues to do so. Unlike Christianity and Judaism, which crumbled under the force of secularism, Islam did not. Lands were divided and colonised, conquered and exploited. The Islamic state, the Caliphate, was dismantled, but the Islamic mind remained. It is in an effort to break this resistance that the insults come – to impose secular liberalism, to consolidate its victory forever.
    Is the western world really in a position to lecture others about violence? Or about values? The “free world” seeks to dominate and impose itself upon the rest by means of military, political and epistemic violence: perpetuating Orientalist fantasies about Muslims being prone to violence, backward, unable to manage themselves; propping up dictators like Sisi and King Abdullah; destroying entire countries through war and invasion; using unmanned drones to kill indiscriminately in Yemen and Pakistan. This is the broader context of provocation in which the global Muslim reaction to insults come. It here that far more attention needs to be focussed.
    One thing that needs to be clear is that Islam is not against critique. Any attempt to quash or stifle serious debate is unacceptable in Islam. Critique of any ideas or beliefs is halal. Insulting any beliefs or people is not. Critique Islam all you want. Write in measured, considered tones about why Islam is not the truth, or why the Prophet was not a prophet. Such books fill bookstores across the West as it is. Never have any of these books resulted in a riot. But to mock, to denigrate, to provoke, to agitate – that is something else, and is unacceptable.
    Everyone has lines they will not cross. All worldviews and cultures are sensitive with respect to certain things they hold dear. Modernity did not do away with sanctities; it merely shifted them from the religious to the worldly.
    To insult is not an acceptable mode of interaction for mature, self-respecting people. It is the modus operandi of pseudo-intellectuals with nothing to offer, no intent to engage, and only interested in projecting their own insecurities onto others. Insults bring nothing to society except hate and divisiveness. “

  14. May Allah reward Shaykh Haitham immensely, what an excellent reminder. And Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our most belove Prophet, the best of mankind.

  15. Allahumma salli ala Muhammad…

  16. The perpetrators are not even known yet, no trial has even taken place but Islam is in placed in the dock and the God of FreeSpeach is championed as the victim.

    Good initial response masha Allah

  17. JazakAllah khair sheikh for reminding us to focus on what is truly beneficial.

  18. Once again, wise words from the respectable Shaykh. The Shaykh has never failed me when it comes to advice. The UK are blessed Alhamdulillah to have such a person amongst us, someone who is able to guide us and keep us away from distractions that could make us do or say something that we may regret later on in life. He gives us long term solutions instead of quick short term solutions. We need a forward thinker, one who thinks of consequences and this is the man, mashaAllah. May Allah protect him and preserve his knowledge. Ameen

  19. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

    “O Allāh, let Your Blessings come upon Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad, as you have blessed Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O Allāh, bless Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad, as you have blessed Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious”.

  20. JazakAllah khair for this article and excellent reminder.

    SubhanAllah, I think in the minds of real Muslims, the character of our beloved Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam isn’t doubted, rather who would do these crimes and whether a Muslim is really capable of such a crime?!

    If we analyse how the Jews were vilified and treated and shamed before the holocaust and nazi germany, it appears to me the same thing is going to happen to Muslims and is already happening. Muslims will be further humiliated and degrated and made out to be sub-human so that people (and dajjaal) will be able to over take us easily and kill Muslims outright without remorse.

    After-all, most forums (even tech sites I visit) are already full of comments about wiping out Islam and even Muslims and committing genocide against us.

    The twitter hashtag #KillAllMuslims will only grow in the coming months and years.

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